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Piano, Organ & Other Keyboard Instruments

All enquiries to the Section Co-Ordinator: Mrs Jo Highley, 01548 830800, Email

Where Levels are given rather than grades, the approximate levels are:

  • Beginner: Pre Grade 1 & Grade 1; Elementary: Grades 2 & 3
  • Intermediate: Grades 4 – 6; Advanced: Grades 7 & 8
  • Open: Post Grade 8


Where reference has been made either to a specific grade, or to terms such as elementary, intermediate etc, or to a level expressed in Grades, it is expected that entrants, parents, and especially teachers, will bear in mind that it is in the spirit of the festival to try to adhere carefully to the standards suggested by the the relevant grade.  If in any doubt about the level of a piece then teachers should not hesitate to contact the Keyboard Section Co-ordinator who will be happy to give guidance.  

Whilst it is obviously acceptable to play an exam piece in the festival, wider repertoire is strongly encouraged, in the context of the above advice.

Candidates may play only one piece in each class, unless the description of the class expressly states otherwise.

Within any class, the adjudicator will pay more heed to the standard of the performance than to the level of difficulty of the piece. 


Adjudicator: Phil Watson MMus, BA(Hons), BSc, LRAM, ARCM

Phil is a former Director of Music in the Royal Marines Band Service.

Phil has played oboe, clarinet, piano and piano accordion since his early teens, and developed an interest in composition from an early age. He joined the RM band as a oboist and progressed through the ranks to reach Major. During his service he ran the RM School of Music before directing the RM Band Portsmouth (The Royal Band) for his final 4 years of 33 years of service.

Since retirement, Phil has been involved in performing, conducting, teaching and composing. He was asked by the Royal Navy to start a RN Volunteer Band at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth. He led and conducted this band for four years before handing over the baton. Recently he has composed a suite for the Dartmouth Orchestra which received its premier performance in 2015. He became the Musical Director of this orchestra in 2015. Phil is also musical advisor to the Riviera Brass Band, for whom he has just written a new composition.

Other interests include walking and running, mainly in the Lake District, and on Dartmoor where he helps to train a local Ten Tors team.